Recommendations for Retention
Fulfilling the Committee's Charge - Recommendations for Retention
University deans, department chairs and faculty colleagues should be made aware of the issues surrounding retention of diverse faculty. In an article discussing the multiple marginality experienced by women of color in academe, Caroline Sotelloe Viernes Turner discusses the problems underrepresentation poses for diverse faculty in a “token” situation (Kantor 1977) and the “ambiguous empowerment” (Chase 1995) they often report according to her research based on 64 interviews with faculty of color (2002). She draws from R. M. Kantor’s (Kantor 1977) “theory of proportions” to discuss the “cycle of cumulative disadvantage” female faculty experience including effects related to being a “token,” which occurs in a context of underrepresentation.
The cycle includes, being more visible and on display, feeling more pressure to conform, finding it harder to gain credibility, feeling isolated and peripheral, being excluded from peer networks resulting in less opportunity to develop alliances, being stereotyped, and experiencing more personal stress (Turner 2002: 77). Representation and, thus, “social distance between majority and minority group faculty and administrators,” are measures of climate and also determining factors in how underrepresented minority faculty describe climate (Spann 1990:1, cited in Turner 2002: 78).
Turner also draws from Chase’s conception of “ambiguous empowerment” describing the situation where women have successfully earned a position of authority, and its requisite privileges and power, but continue to “confront situations that limit their authority” stemming from culture and implicit and explicit bias embedded in individual perspectives as well as institutional cultures and reflecting national culture. According to Turner, the effects leading to marginality are multiplied in the experience of women of color. In the cases of Turner’s research, the “interlocking race and gender bias” has a number of effects that inhibit success as faculty members (2002:79):
- Challenges from academic good old boy networks
- Feeling isolated and under-respected
- Salience of race over gender in which women of color can’t expect support from white female colleagues
- Being underemployed and overused
- Torn between family, community and career
- Being challenged by students
We begin the discussion of recommendations for retention with reference to Turner and then expand by drawing from the efforts and recommendations from our committee.
Turner discusses a number of recommendations:
From the Committee on Faculty Recruitment and Retention: in addition to the recommendations above, the Committee recommends the following:
- Validate service and teaching. In addition, if service is seen as addressing social justice issues, it can give a sense of pride, and connection with communities of color
- Promote networking and mentoring
- Provide professional development sensitive to campus political dynamics, for instance, if may be helpful to provide understanding of the likely classroom dynamics faced by person of color.
- Break the conspiracy of silence in ongoing discussion, data collection and exploration to understand the effects of racial and gender composition.
- Promote a welcoming environment, which necessarily includes increasing the representation of diverse members in students, administration, staff and faculty.
- Accommodate conflicts of commitments, partially by identifying norms that place diverse faculty at disadvantage, then create new norms. This can be assisted by examining initiatives developed in private corporations.
- Increase the faculty pool, diverse and otherwise, to carry burden of addressing diversity issues on campus. More diverse faculty will help spread the workload, and allies among the existing faculty need to be asked to, and rewarded for, assisting with efforts to foster diversity. This could be integrated into the annual evaluation process.
- Develop Multicultural Caucus within the Faculty Senate structure - a standing committee, perhaps with a representative on Faculty Senate and with a sustainable structure.
- Develop a better synthesis of Diversity-centered commitment, programs and units.
- Foster mentoring and networking, academic and social, for diverse faculty
- Identify and cultivate the base of diverse students to mentor, link to Student Recruitment Office
- Salary/Research incentives focused on diversity issues:
- Emphasis/value put on research with diversity focus
- -For diverse faculty
- -For research on Issues related to diversity
- -Perhaps develop a university-wide research award for scholarship dealing with diversity
- -Perhaps develop other research incentives
- Evaluate and develop the curriculum with content relevant to diversity initiatives
- Develop and maintain an ongoing Culture and Climate assessment
- Identify and partner with community resources
- Build diversity professional development into the annual evaluation process--educate faculty and staff on diversity issues
- Perhaps encourage Argonaut to run annual diversity series in educational/awareness effort
- Develop a process for documenting, tracking and reporting incidents of human rights violations
- Could have mechanism for Civility statement warnings, track by student
- -Accumulation of multiple warnings could trigger investigation
- -Process involve HRAI office, Dean of Students and Unit
- President’s Diversity & Excellence Awards would place value on diversity service